The Paris Agreement is a landmark agreement to address climate change. It was adopted at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France, in December 2015. The agreement is guided by the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) above pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.
The Paris Agreement recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis and calls for immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve the goals of the agreement, countries are required to submit and update their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) every five years. NDCs outline the steps each country will take to reduce its emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
One of the key debates surrounding the Paris Agreement is whether the target should be 1.5°C or 2°C. While a difference of 0.5°C may not seem significant, it can have a major impact on the planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that limiting warming to 1.5°C would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change compared to a 2°C target.
The IPCC has also highlighted the significant differences between the impacts of 1.5°C and 2°C of warming. At 1.5°C, the risks of severe weather events, food insecurity, water scarcity, and sea level rise are lower than at 2°C. Even a small increase in warming can have disastrous consequences, particularly for vulnerable communities in developing countries.
However, achieving the 1.5°C target will require rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society, including energy systems, land use, urban planning, and transportation. This will require strong political will, financial resources, and technological innovation.
The Paris Agreement provides a framework for global cooperation to address the climate crisis. By setting a clear goal of limiting warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C, the agreement recognizes the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate action. It is up to all of us, as individuals, communities, and nations, to take responsibility for our actions and do our part to achieve a sustainable future for generations to come.